1 year, 5 backpacks, 6 continents, 35 countries, 50 UNESCO sites, 66 airplane rides, 94 different accommodations, and 1 epic trip around the world!
Getting on that last flight was so exciting! We were all eager to finally go home to see all of our friends and family we had been missing so much. Flying into Portland is always beautiful (if you catch it on a sunny day) and I almost cried as I saw the green trees, wide rivers and snow capped mountains poking up out of the landscape. We were home!
We weren’t sure what to expect when coming out of security, but were overjoyed to see so many of our family there to welcome us home! They even brought Burgerville cheeseburgers, a Northwest favorite, to eat before we even left the airport.
From the airport we headed over to Jeromy’s parents house to visit, eat our favorite pizza (Blind Onion), and relax surrounded by all our amazing family.
We spent our first night home at Jeromy’s parents so we didn’t have to go back to our empty house. That next day our new car, that Jeromy bought online while we were in Columbia, was delivered and we drove home. We stopped off at Costco on the way (American grocery stores can’t be beat!) and stocked up on groceries. As we entered our house and unloaded groceries, it almost felt like we had never left at all. I was putting the same groceries in the same fridge. In the coming days, weeks, and months, the default lifestyle we chose to leave for a year, crept back in. On a day to day basis, it was easy to forget we had even traveled around the world at all.
It has taken me awhile to finish writing these posts since we have been home. In fact when I finally post this, it will almost be a year. This is partially because of how time seems to be filled with everyday life. Practices, school, work, and keeping up with the day to day; but also because it was hard for me to get back into my “trip” state of mind. “Real” life seemed to take over.
Parker, Tyler and Jeromy seemed to adjust back fine. They loved the comforts of life and being back among friends and family. Luke missed the togetherness of being on the road as a family and was a little sadder sometimes and had a hard time adjusting to sleeping in his bedroom all alone. After some time to adjust, he has, fortunately, bounced back to his usual self!
I had the hardest adjustment back of everyone. That makes sense because the trip itself was more my dream than anyone else’s. They were all more than happy to be brought along for the ride though!
So having this life dream over was hard for me. I missed having my family with me every day and the excitement of never knowing what the next day would bring. If it were up to me, I could leave today and spend another year away traveling to all new places, but the boys like the stability that being in one place provides, which I can understand. So I’ve spent the past year finding my new normal and discovering ways to add adventure into my daily life while still appreciating the blessings of living in one place.
In the pictures below you can see how much we have changed on the outside over the course of the year. The boys have grown taller, Parker has lost that little kid look transforming into a young man, our backpacks are not as full as when we left from us shedding unwanted items along the way, and after a year of following the sun, we are all the tannest we will probably ever be! What you can’t see is how we have changed inside. This trip transformed us into different people, changing each of us, hopefully for the better in ways we never imagined.
I will forever treasure this year I had with my family, all together. It was a precious gift to me. My family provides me my greatest joy in life, and I look forward to many more adventures ahead. Instead of looking at the end of this trip around the world as the end of our journey, I am realizing it is actually a stepping stone in the new direction of our dreams.